For this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to visit the Buckeye State and pay homage to The Rude Boys. The Cleveland-based quartet consisted of Larry Marcus, Melvin Sephus, Edward Lee “Buddy” Banks, and Joe Little III. Initially breaking onto the scene in 1990 with the hits “Written All Over Your Face” and “Are You Lonely For Me” from their debut, they wasted no time returning to the studio.
Second Listen Sunday: Keith Sweat, Make It Last Forever
Keith Sweat had already spent the last decade honing his music craft as a member of the Harlem band Jamilah when his debut album Make It Last Forever hit record stores on November 24, 1987. Working with producer Teddy Riley on all but one song, Sweat’s first album was led by the single “I Want Her.” The song was an infectious BOP describing how one feels after having an instant attraction to someone. Sweat kept it up-tempo for the second single, “Something Just Ain’t Right.”
Over Teddy Riley’s fabulous production, Sweat effortlessly croons about knowing things aren’t peachy in your relationship. “Make It Last Forever” was the album’s third single, which found Sweat crafting a simple ballad about keeping love strong with songstress Jacci McGhee.
“Don’t Stop Your Love” was the album’s final single. Here Sweat continues the vibe established on “I Want Her,” playfully crooning about what he wants from a woman. However, as die-hard fans will attest, two of the biggest songs from the album were never official singles but received significant radio play.
“Right & Wrong Way” is what may have started Sweat’s trademark of begging. Easily one of Sweat’s best ballads, I’ve always taken the song as Sweat singing to a woman out on her own in the world for the first time and finally meeting Mr. Right (pun intended). Sweat wants the object of affection to know he’s not about the childish games anymore, and she shouldn’t be either.
“How Deep Is Your Love” is another killer slow jam from the album. In this song, Sweat talks about a man and his confusion about a relationship. He’s anxious to determine if his lover still wants to be a part of his world. She’s giving him mixing signals, but Sweat knows her heart and wants to know if she loves him or not.
Sweat also offers a decent cover of The Dramatics’ “In The Rain.” The only really weak song of the album is “Tell Me It’s Me You Want,” which comes off as a filer. Initially, Riley and Sweat recorded 17 songs for the project before narrowing it down to a solid eight. One of the songs was “Just Got Paid,” which would end up on Johnny Kemp’s second album, Secrets of Flying, a year later. Make It Last Forever would go on to sell three million copies but had Sweat put “Just Got Paid,” I can only imagine how much bigger the project would’ve been.
Despite the one misstep, Make It Last Forever is arguably one of the strongest R&B debuts of the eighties and set the stage for Mr. Sweat’s still active career.
Final Grade: A
Make It Last Forever is available on all streaming platforms
More reviews to explorer
Valentine’s Day 2024 may have come and gone, but I still plan to use highlight songs with the V-word for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. The artist I chose is a southern gentleman by the name of Lloyd. Initially breaking onto the scene as a member of the preteen-boy band N-Toon, Lloyd’s solo career kicked off in 2004 with the hit “Southside.”
As we continue to celebrate the month of love, I chose “Valentine by Ryan Leslie as the second song with the word valentine for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. Leslie broke into the music industry in 2003, writing hits for Beyoncé and New Edition. Leslie released the singles “The Way That U Move Girl” and “Used 2 Be” featuring Fabolous. However, his debut album was never officially released due to creative differences with his record label. In late 2007, Leslie finally broke through with the bop “Diamond Girl,” and his self-titled album would finally hit record stores on February 10, 2009. Leslie also succeeded with the follow-up singles “Addiction” and “How It Was Supposed to Be.” Surprisingly, though, Leslie didn’t drop “Valentine” as the fourth single, which would have timed perfectly with the album release date.